According to World Health Organization, among the 20 most polluted cities in the world, 14 are from India. On an average Indian citizens are exposed to PM2.5 concentrations between 15 and 32 times more than the air quality guidelines set by the World Health Organization which leads to serious health hazards.
India already has Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act since 1981 to control air pollution. In addition to its following government initiatives has been launched in the past few years to reduce air pollution, these included reduction in particulate matter emissions by Coal Power Plants (Ministry of Power), setting emission standards for brick manufacturing industry and facilitating management of agricultural residues to reduce stubble burning (Ministry of Environment), stricter vehicle emission regulation and up gradation of vehicles to more fuel efficient standards (Bharat VI).
Following measures can be adopted in addition to Government Act and initiatives to reduce air pollution :
We, as a citizen, should understand reducing air pollution is not only the responsibility of Government, until we won’t realize the severity of air pollution it will be difficult to curb air pollution.
Air Pollution is not restricted to one city, it’s a global phenomenon. According to the WHO Report, Indian cities suffer the most because of air pollution. Air pollution threatens us all, but the poorest and most marginalized people bear the brunt of the burden. The World Health Organization also reported that 93 percent of all children in the world breathe air with pollution levels that exceed their guidelines. Many different air pollutants can impact health - nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide and ozone are among them. But the database classifies air pollution in two ways : by PM 2.5, particles smaller than 2.5 microns in diameter, and by PM 10, particles that are 10 microns in diameter. The smaller PM 2.5 particles from sources like open flames and diesel exhaust can linger in the air longer and penetrate deeper into the lungs than larger particles, which is why they are the bigger concern for health officials and a high-priority target for reduction. Frequent unhealthy levels of pollution from sources ranging from vehicles to the burning of coal and wood for cooking, dust storms, or forest fires affect most of the country.
With the right kind of push and pull measures, it would be possible to reduce the level of air pollutants. By replacing existing cook stoves with clean cook stoves, reducing pollution from diesel transport and restricting open burning of biomass and fossil fuels are the major steps which would help curb the problem. Liquid petroleum gas and electricity, along with biogas and ethanol are some of the clean energy alternatives. India could cut its total air pollution by one third overnight by giving clean cooking stoves to all the villagers. It is important to recommend people to avoid strenuous outdoor activities and minimize the use of private vehicles to reduce exposure to toxic air. Use of water-based or solvent free paints whenever possible and buy products that mention "low VOC", keeping automobiles well-tuned and maintained, following the manufacturer’s instructions on routine maintenance, such as changing the oil and filters, and checking tire pressure and wheel alignment are some of the measures which can be incorporated in our daily life. A small change in our day to day life can make a big difference and help to overcome the problems of pollution.
India being developing country there are various environmental problems faced by the country. Air pollution being of the major problem, country facing these days. India is heading towards the worst air quality. The major part of the country being effected is the Northern belt. Reasons for the air pollution in this regions is Vehicular Emissions, burning of crop residues. But one of the factor in this states for air pollution is effect of temperature inversion and stable wind conditions.
Low temperatures and calm winds are characteristic features of Northern India. Calm wind prevents dispersion of pollutants and temperature inversion tends to trap the pollutants. Thus increasing concentration of pollutants. The formation of low pressure troughs across this region causes winds to converge, resulting in trapping of local, as well as pollution from outside. Loose alluvial soil of the belt, contributes towards dust particulates in the air. Also the major problem of air pollution in country is its Thermal Power Generation.
The measures to reduce air pollution should be taken by every individual. The following measures can be taken to reduce air pollution and its effects :
According to the Government, India is suffering from the worst water crisis in its history and around 600 million people face a severe water shortage. Approximately 200,000 people die every year due to inadequate access to clean water and it’s only going to get worse as it is estimated that 21 cities are likely to run out of groundwater by 2020.
There is an immediate need to deepen our understanding about the available water resource and usage and put in place interventions that make our water use efficient and sustainable. According to the 2012 World Bank Report, India is the largest consumer of groundwater in the world.
About 230 cubic km of groundwater is used every year due to which the groundwater level is diminishing. This crisis can be tackled by restoring and enhancing groundwater recharge areas, restoration of ponds, lakes and river system, rainwater and roof top harvesting is one of the best method. Planning and adapting proper groundwater management strategies are required to secure, sustain and rejuvenate the accessible ground water. These measures if incorporated can help our country to transform from a ‘groundwater deficient’ to ‘groundwater sufficient’ nation and provide sustainable water availability for about one-fifth of the global population.
The eventual goal is to broaden the participation parameters and allow sector experts to share innovation and create innovative products that tackle the problems. With the possibility of open application programming interfaces (APIs), a bouquet of diverse expertise can contribute to improve, emphasize and normalize sustainable water-management practices.
As per June 2018, NITI Aayog’s Report named (Composite Water Management Index for 2016-2017) nearly 600 million Indians face high to extreme water stress. This is an alarming situation as the major portion of water available to us is non-potable; the condition will be more severe in the coming future. To overcome this crisis, steps need to be taken at local, community as well as on administrative level.
Overexploitation of groundwater should be completely prohibited; groundwater should be extracted by obtaining appropriate permission from CGWA strict laws should be formed against violators who are overexploiting groundwater. Environmental consequences of groundwater exploitation need to be effectively explained to locals by local Government Bodies, Gram Sabhas etc. ZLD should be made mandatory for every industry so that fresh water load may be reduced to the certain extent. Coastal areas should focus on desalination of water as it can serve as the major relief and will reduce water demand for e.g. Nemmeli Seawater Desalination Plant at Chennai which supplies water to Chennai city. Rainwater harvesting should be made mandatory for each and every complexes / industries.
At an administrative level, Governmental Agencies should work together and make sure that clean and safe drinking water is accessible to every citizen. Degradation of water sources by pollution from various point and non-point sources should be reduced; Governmental Agencies should ensure that surface water is not polluted by discharge of any untreated effluent. For drought-prone areas, Watershed Management and minor Irrigation Projects would be suitable which should be allowed and encouraged to be developed by the local communities, with technical and financial help from the Government and NGOs. At the national level, states which are under-performing in Composite Water Management (CWM) should work in collaboration with the best CWM management states, so that techniques and steps adopted by best composite water management states can be adopted in their states.
India generates more than two million of electronic and electrical waste (E-waste) per year, and also imports undisclosed amounts of E-waste from other countries. It is estimated that more than 95% of India’s E-waste is processed by a widely distributed network of informal workers of rag pickers. They collect, dismantle and recycle it and operate illegally outside any regulated or formal organization system.
There is an increase in the quantity of E-waste because of increased consumption and also obsolescence. According to a study in May 2017, the volume of waste is growing at an estimated 21 percent annually. It is important that inventorization of the E-waste produced annually should be done by engaging an established government agency. If these waste are processed scientifically, valuable metals such as copper, silver, gold and platinum can be recovered from it which will help in managing the environment sustainably. It is important to create awareness as it is a key for both stakeholders and consumers. Also considering the adverse impact caused by untreated E-waste on land, the government should encourage the new and existing entrepreneurs by providing necessary financial support, technological guidance as well as by giving special concessions.
It is high time that the government takes proactive initiative to recycle and dispose E-waste safely to protect the environment and ensure the well-being of the general public and other living organisms.
In this technical era, where every electronic item is upgraded and replaced by latest one’s the quantity of E-waste is increasing enormously. India is the fifth largest electronic waste producer in the world. Although, there are various guidelines and rules directed by Government for E-waste management but there is a lack of awareness among common people about the ill effects of E-waste, thus they do not segregate e-waste and discard it along with common municipal solid waste which indirectly affects rag pickers, municipal workers etc.
Awareness need to be generated among people about the toxins and hazards associated with E-waste. Government should set up E-waste collecting units so that E-waste gets discarded in environmentally sound manner and the valuable material from it can be reused.
There should be regular audit by pollution control board or any designated Governmental agency to check whether bulk generators of e-waste follow the conditions which was incorporated by SPCB’s while granting permission to run unit.
Solar power offers best solution to fossil fuel emissions and global climate change. India is both densely populated and has high solar insulation, providing an ideal combination for solar power in India. India is already a leader in wind power generation. In solar energy sectors some large projects have been proposed.
India is a tropical country where sunshine is available for longer hours per day and in great intensity. Therefore, solar energy has great potential as future energy source and also has the advantage of permitting the decentralized distribution of energy, thereby empowering people at the grassroot level. Growing population along with increasing electrification and per-capita usage to drive growth in power consumption in coming years. In order to meet this increasing demand for electricity in the country, massive addition to the installed generating capacity is required. Using solar energy can help reduce the water consumption, carbon footprint, climate change and also help in conserving fossil fuel.
As of March 2018, out of total installed power capacity, 57.9% is from coal whereas solar contributes to only 5.8%. Being a tropical country geographically, India has huge potential in generating solar energy as it receives solar radiation almost throughout the year.
As mentioned above, at present only 5-6% of total install power capacity is of solar no doubt there are ongoing projects which can in future increase power dependency of country to certain extent on solar but saying solar will be mainstream of power supply is difficult as there is huge gap between solar and coal which is major source of energy in country.
India generates about 5 million tones of plastic waste annually. In Maharashtra 3 to 5 % of all garbage generated consists of plastics. To combat this problem, Maharashtra Government finally enforced its well-planned ban on single use plastic items. Officials from Maharashtra Pollution Control Board and district and local administration has been authorized to implement this ban. The ban was imposed to minimize the environmental risks and harm caused to wild animals from accidental ingestion or entanglement.
Plastic is a threat to the environment as it made up of fossil fuel source such as natural gas and petroleum. Toxic chemicals bleed into our water from the plastic products that we use. As it is non biodegradable, it always exist in the environment, crowding the landfill and polluting the ocean. The ban can be successful only if the government suggest affordable alternatives to plastic. The actual implementation can become ineffective as people may find it difficult to get around it if no cheap alternatives are available.
Banning plastic is an appreciable work and by doing so Maharashtra Government has took huge step in combating plastic pollution and risks associated with it. Plastic being major required commodity in every day to day life banning it will definitely have some impact on common people but if Government has appropriate planning and provides suitable substitute which can replace plastic, Surely this ban will be successful.
Government should also take stringent against people using plastic even after providing alternative to it. Implementing plastic ban on ground is a huge administrative work which can only be implemented with effective planning.